Churches Launch "Just Wealth" Document in Parliament

On Monday 28 February, a document entitled "Prosperity with a Purpose - Christians and the Ethics of Affluence" published by the national official ecumenical body Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) was launched by a distinguished group of church leaders in the British Parliament at Westminster in London.

In the wake of terrible poverty faced by the Third World, prosperous countries around the world are called to create a better life for those suffering by reinforcing social justice with a global effort. Moreover, many evangelicals and ecumenical bodies have begun to realise the importance of addressing the issue of mobilising people to take action against injustice as part of their Christian duties.

The document that was introduced today suggests that in order to reinforce social justice, it demands a new and wider sense of solidarity in modern Britain, together with a deep renewal of civil society. It also says that wealth creation is a continuation of God’s creative activity, provided that it is governed by a strong commitment to social justice.

Prosperity With A Purpose claims that there is a "new Christian consensus" in support of a market economy and the positive role of business and industry, compared to traditional Christians who think that the rich only got richer by making the poor poorer.

It says that it is the responsibility of those engaged in politics to reconcile the outcomes of the market to the demands of the common good.

It also declares that social justice is about more than government action and money. It is also about a culture of responsibility, confronting spiritual malaise, and building networks of social obligation.

CTBI has showed its continued effort in promoting social justice. At the Swanwick annual assembly last week where all major denominations came together, a seminar was held during the assembly introducing the Accra Confession on Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth.

The Accra was endorsed in Ghana during the World Alliance of Reformed Churches General Assembly 2004. The Reformed churches across the world have acknowledged that the global neo-liberal economics falsifies the core message of equality in the Gospel and continues to push the poor to the margins of existence. Therefore, the Confession was drafted in a strong theological and biblical context to guide Christians of all traditions to ask how their allegiance to Christ and his church impacts their engagement with the world economy.

The United Reformed Church, the Church of Scotland, the Union of Welsh Independents, the ecumenical Churches’ Commission on Mission and the theological think tank Ekklesia all helped to organise the seminar.

The Anglican Bishop of Southwark, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and free church leaders including the Methodist Church were at the launch of Prosperity With A Purpose in the House of Lords today.